You can never have too many kitchen gadgets, am I right? I have a weird obsession [shocking, I know] with finding the tools that make my cooking experience just a little bit faster and better. I've compiled a list of the goodies that I really love to use in my kitchen. I hope they help you, too!
You've gotta have a good supply of some sturdy, metal whisks. 'Nuff said.
The king of utensils - the wooden spoon and spatula. A must for every cook! It lets you scrape off the goodness on the bottom of any pan without fear of scratching off the good, non-stick stuff. I use them more than any other kind of spoon in the kitchen.
I ginormbo (yes, I made that word up) kitchen knife. Some folks like the big squared kind, a mezzaluna-type is also popular, but I stick to the traditional chef's knife. The key is to really keep your knives honed (using the big long stick that comes with your knife block) and to only hand wash them.
This little microplane buddy is for fun things like zesting and grating [not cheese grating - other stuff like garlic]. It's super, deceivingly sharp. It grates all your citrus and whatever else you want and is perfect for the job!
This fella. He's my pal. This here is a garlic press - so anytime you read "minced garlic" - think of this friend. You just peel the garlic cloves and shove 'em in there. Then you press the handles together, and voila, perfectly minced garlic! I rarely chop the stuff anymore. Although I do looooove the smell of garlic on my fingers. You know you do, too.
A Dutch oven. The King of the Kitchen. You can go big or go not so big with these [in size and price]. I use these bad boys pretty much every day. Think anytime that you're cooking in a skillet - you could be using a Dutch oven. The cooking is more even, and I think, that the flavors of your dish tend to do best in a Dutch oven versus a plain old skillet. They're also fantastic because you can sauté on the stove and then pop them in the oven [hello one pot wonders]. You can use metal utensils on the bottom because they're not nonstick. It's actually all cast-iron that's been coated with enamel.
This is definitely the higher end kind of Dutch oven - a Le Creuset. It's a family heirloom now. Corey better love it or he's cut out of the will. Just sayin'. My aunt and uncle gave me one when we hosted our first Thanksgiving. I cried. Happy, joyful tears. I absolutely adore this little friend.
A cheaper version is this bad boy. He does the job just fine, but doesn't cost quite what that little guy up there does. I will say that the enamel in the bottom doesn't stand up quite as well as the Le Creuset, so this is actually the third one I've bought in about ten years. But, at the price, it really isn't that big of a deal.
The best tool I can tell you to use is your heart. I don't care how corny that sounds - it's true! You have to cook from your heart and not give a rat's booty if it turns out to be a disaster. Just cook and try again and change it up the next time if you need to. It's all about experimenting and enjoying your time! Cooking is truly a gift from the heart.